In January 2008 a colleague and I went to Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) to give a training for colleagues from the Asia-Pacific region. The flight was a bit long (11 hours Frankfurt – KL and 13 hours back), but thanks to Seatguru.com I had a good seat. We arrived at Kuala Lumpur Internation Airport at 7:30 in the morning and were pleasently surprised by the airport itself as well as the prices at Mc Donald’s. We then organized a fixed-price taxi for the hotel and stepped through the door. The climate was a bit of shock coming from a German winter (temperature around freezing at home). Despite the early time the temperature in KL was around 28° C and I better don’t comment on the humidity. So the aircondition in the taxi was highly appreciated! After about 45 minutes on a perfect and almost empty motorway we approached our hotel, the Grand Millenium. One of the best hotels I have ever been to! The service is great, the staff extremly friendly and the rooms were nice too. Here is a picture taken from my room
Breakfast is one of the most important things for me when travelling. And the Grand Millenium had one of the best breakfasts I have seen so far (and I have seen quite a few 😉 ). You can get anything from Japanese, through Indian and Malasian dishes to a “normal” continental breakfast. I decided to get up extra early, so I could enjoy the full range. Well almost, I skipped the miso soup. But apart from that I started with the Indian and Malaysian stuff to have a good morning sweat. (These things a really spicy for a normal European.) The cafe latte that I ordered to go with it is a bit of a change in style, but I didn’t care. They charge extra money for it, but it was around 3 Euros, so that’s ok.
This brings me to a general observation: Everything that needs to be imported is really expensive, even by European standards, whereas “local things” are pretty cheap. The latter includes sushi (great selection at supermarkets) and labor (hence the double quotes). To dry-clean a suit in the hotel was less than 8 Euros but a beer in the minibar is around 6 Euros. In that context it is interesting to see some of the cars on the street (BMW M5, Mercedes S class), especially if you know that there is a 100%+ luxury tax on them. So an entry-level Mercedes E class is around 75 kEuros.
But enough with the hotel (you probably figured out that I liked it). One other difference to most of my business trips was the fact that there was a bit of time for sightseeing. Here are some pictures
You should definitely visit the Petronas Towers. Even if you don’t want to get to the top (in that case you should be there very early in the morning) there is a great shopping centre on the first 3-4 floors. It has all the luxury brands you know and probably also a few you have not seen before. You can also get something to eat and drink there. And it’s not expensive by European or American standards.
The people standing guard at the royal palace don’t have an easy job (and neither do the horses). People are constantly crossing the yellow line on the ground to get closer for a photograph. I always waited for a horse to attack, but they are probably sedated ;-).
The climate is not really my cup of tea, but you get used to it. In that context I am really proud that I could avoid the famous air-condition cold :-). This is quite an achievement, given that the meeting rooms in the hotel were freezingly cold (probably around 18° C). Some of my Australian colleagues didn’t care and sat in there with short trousers and t-shirts, whereas I needed my jacket.
Overall it was a great experience (and my first trip to Asia). I would have liked to spend more time with sightseeing, especially in the countryside. So let’s see whether I will be able to get back …